nao sushi & izakaya – perth

Tucked into a narrow space on Murray Street, anyone would be forgiven for walking past Nao – except for the eye catching warmer filled with delectable fried foods, which would probably stop anyone in their tracks.

I like this place – it’s clean, modern and has a certain laidback atmosphere about it. There’s a counter by the kitchen for those who like a peep behind the scenes or eating alone. Otherwise there’s around 10 small tables for diners, more suited to tables of two but can be pushed together to accommodate more people. The menu consists of pictures of noodle bowls (there’s an especially huge picture of ramen plastered on one wall of the restaurant) and various rice dishes. The ramen seems to be the speciality of Nao – two colourful pages of the menu are filled with ramen combinations and curious optional add-ins.

The first step to ordering ramen is choosing a soup base – shiso, miso, soy or spicy. There are three types of noodles – white, green (spinach) and red flecked chilli. Standard ramen combinations are listed, but additional toppings can be added to make your bowl your very own version – corn kernels, rice cake, chashu (roast pork) and butter linger amongst the selection. We quickly order (we had christmas shopping to get to!) two bowls of spicy ramen, one with braised pork mince and the other with seafood.

The kitchen is meticulous – the two cooks make sure each plate is perfect before it is sent out to the oblivious customer. The presentation is pretty good – considering it is just a bowl of noodles. Peppered with sesame seeds, a mound of shredded seaweed is attractively placed in the centre and the crunchy deep fried nori adds an oily contrast. The soup is dense with flavour and body – it is a far cry from the instant soup versions – but the bf disagrees on this point. However our bowls of ramen are not spicy and barely tingle the palate. The seafood gets the nod of approval from the bf but I can’t say much for my braised mince topping, which was lost in the murky depths of the soup. I enjoy the tasty soup and soft fresh noodles, right down to the bottom of the bowl, despite the warm day.

I think to a lot of people, Nao’s ramen will taste a lot like instant ramen –  but keep in mind the instant stuff is meant to mimick authentic ramen and does a pretty good job of it. The difference is in the small details. The distinctively full bodied soup, depth of flavour, the contribution of each ingredient (however tiny) and the quality of fresh noodles. So if you’re in the city and need a quick lunch, Nao is a good opportunity to try something different and have a bowl of  ramen, the way it’s supposed to be.

Nao Sushi and Izakaya, 117 Murray Street, Perth WA 6000
T: (08) 9325 2090

Opening Hours:
THINK it is open for lunch Mon – Sat, not sure about Sundays

Nao Japanese on Urbanspoon

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  1. Upsidedown Cow

    Tastes too instant for me which immediately rings my MSG alarm bells.

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